How it started #1

First year abroad ©French Spark

High school is supposed to be the time when you know which career you will follow for the rest of your life. In France, when you get in high school you are divided in 3 different study specialities : literature, science or economics. And most of the time, it seems like everything is planned for you since kindergarten. If you love to read, you are more interested in arts, if you love to write and have a good skills in French language, you will be a literature student. If you are part of the smarter kids (and I don’t think we are but it’s how people see us) and math is pretty easy for you, you will be a science student. Then economics were most of the time associated with students having lower grades and harder time at school (in general education so they are still good students). Now, most of it has changed, thanks to the development of new careers such as the ones in advertising, public relations and communications, because all the people aiming for those careers come mainly from economics studies and some from literature.

I was part of the smart kids in kindergarten, I love numbers, and I developed a passion for the ocean and surfing when I was a teenager (even if I was living far away from the ocean, I always had a good excuse to jump on a train or spend my summer by the ocean), so I decided to study oceanology, I was dreaming about getting my masters in Tahiti (yes they had a program there!) and live the rest of my life by the ocean… Before that, I was supposed to get a bachelor degree in biology and I realized during my senior year in high school that I was not really fond of biology at all… Since all of my dreams have collapsed and that I didn’t know what to do, I decided to spend a year abroad as an exchange student in the US (I end up in the very North-East of Tennessee… not very exciting for a 18 years old teenager, while all your friends are enjoying their first year of college, but at least I met my husband there 🙂 ) and I tried to study my options for college. You realize then that you’re only 18 and you are making decisions that are going to lead the next 40 years of your life. Hopefully, I had friends in college already, ready to share their experience with me and I discovered new subjects that I didn’t know about and communications were part of it. Coming from a little city in France and especially from a scientific education, I didn’t have a lot of information about those kind of careers and more than 10 years ago communication was not very developed and it was not known that much yet.

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 13.12.22

After my year abroad, I applied to a few different colleges (in France you have a lot more options concerning colleges and universities, so I probably applied to 20 different colleges around my area), in communications, graphic design and computer science (why not, internet was just starting in France, I was already curious about all that and I didn’t really know what they would teach me there). I had to let go a lot of options because I was not able to go to college interviews since I was in school in the US (hard to come back for a day), and I get accepted in a computer science school, in Bayonne, close to the ocean. I didn’t really know what I was going to do there, but I was in a city that I loved and close to the ocean, I could not dream for a better thing!

I won’t surprise you that programming was not my thing, even if that still help me a lot in my Public Relations career, since I understand coding languages such as PHP and Html, so I can find errors or change code easily to get where I want while working on websites (and when it’s not too technical… I have my limits…). I get my degree in three years, had the best years of my life, and discovered there the passion that will lead my career. Without knowing it, I think this career was my destiny, because in a way you always follow your parents path. My career would not to be a dentist such as my dad, but he shared with me his passion, something that at his time was not a real career yet… {To be continued}